my dad wears a dress review

My Dad Wears a Dress review | A touching, feel-good one-woman play

★★★★☆ Maria Telnikoff shines in an empathetic and personal story of growing up with a transgender parent.


Maria Telnikoff shines in an empathetic and personal story of growing up with a transgender parent. Here’s our My Dad Wears a Dress review.

Maria Telnikoff’s dad, she explains early on in her one-woman Fringe show, is trans. It’s a fact other people, she says, tend to make a far bigger deal of than she does – though that doesn’t entirely account for why she won’t introduce her to her best friend.

Told largely through flashback and the expansive contents of a dressing-up box, Telnikoff whizzes an audience through a pop-inflected highlight reel of her childhood antics from nursery to A-Levels. As a performer, she proves not only intensely likeable but remarkably versatile, perfectly capturing her own psyche at every age from 5-17 with little but a parade of school uniforms and a decreasingly childish voice.


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Unashamedly cheesy pop songs from various eras serve as stings while Maria turns the clock forwards. Combined with playful, often child-like delivery and a script packed with good-natured humour, My Dad Wears a Dress is a refreshingly cheerful take on the one-person show formula. A charmingly homemade feel to the set, which sees the current year communicated by a giant clothes peg on a handmade timeline, only compounds the comfortable feeling that the show which follows will be absolutely lovely.

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There’s no sudden shift into childhood trauma or existential crises here. Instead, the show is littered with moments of pathos all the sweeter because they’re seen through a child’s eyes. As Maria learns to find pride in her dad’s identity, the journey taking her there turns into a delightful coming-of-age story.

Sweet, playful and completely charming, Telnikoff demonstrates a performative streak and a sensibility sure to carry her a long way.

My Dad Wears a Dress is playing at the Underbelly – Cowgate at 11:25 until 27 August. Check out the rest of our Edinburgh Festival Fringe coverage here.

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